Saturday, September 21, 2013

A chance to see Le Sacre du Printemps cause a riot.

I almost didn't go to opening night of the Joffrey Ballet's "Russian Masters" program, but I'm so glad that I did. It's a special addition to the regular season, so it's only running this weekend. The thing that really made me want to go though, is the inclusion of Stravinsky and Nijinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, or Rite of Spring. This is the show that literally caused a riot in the audience on its opening night in Paris 100 years ago. You probably know Stravinsky's score which is generally attributed to causing the riot because of its percussion heavy avant garde nature, but it sounds like there were a lot of factors that led to the riot, not the least of which is Nijinsky's choreography (contorted movements and turned-in feet) and the piece's subject matter (oh ya know, virgin sacrifice).

I wrote a preview of the program for Chicagoist based on the press release and of course my previous experience seeing the company, but I get a much better perspective actually watching the pieces. Sometimes I'm invited to preview portions before the opening, which is amazing, but most of the time I write a review the day after the opening. This run however, is so short, and I was leaving town the day after it opened, so I didn't have time for a review, but again, I'm glad that I opted to go.

I should also mention that that there's another great piece on the program from modern day choreographer Possokhov called simply, Adagio. It's a pas de deux that he created for husband and wife team Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili and I swear, he just pushes to see what they are capable of. It's stunning, both in beauty and in breathtaking talent. Not just any dancer could take on this piece.

There are still two more chances to see "Russian Masters" today and tomorrow.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Riot Fest Is Upon Us

Riot Fest begins tomorrow, and like Labor Day is the official end of summer, lets call this one the official end of music festival season. It's been real, it's been fun, see you next summer and all that.

This is where we kick back with our friends, take in the crisp fall weather, reminisce of another great summer gone by, and of course headbang along with some punk bands. Maybe we'll even ride some rides or play some games at the carnival. And obviously we'll take our pictures with the John Stamos butter sculpture for posterity's sake.

We at Chicagoist put together a listing of our choice picks to see at the fest that aren't headliners, because you don't need a reminder to see the biggest bills. My picks were Kitten, New Beat Fund, Pet Symmetry and Peelander-Z, most of which I discovered from having my Riot Fest Spotify playlist on shuffle for the last several weeks. Obviously there are a lot of other acts I'm excited to see, but these are my lesser known recommendations. And there are still more intriguing songs coming through on my playlist!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Endorsement for The National Endowment for the Brents

My friend Brent Puls had some serious f'ing medical problems. Luckily he came through and is doing much better, but now he's got some serious f'ing medical bills to take care of. He's also pretty lucky that he has some pretty spectacular (and talented) friends that decided to put together a digital album to help offset some of those bills.

Who are these spectacular, talented friends, you ask? Well, Rachael Yamagata, Joe Pug, Pat Sansone, Tom Schraeder and JC Brooks are just a few. And Brent's a pretty talented guy himself. A couple of groups that he's been a part of appear on the album, too. There's even some previously unreleased stuff in there, and it's a steal for just $10!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Music Wednesday!

Janelle Monae's new album, Electric Lady, comes out next week, but you can stream it here. I'm only a few songs in, but so far it's pretty jammin, a lot more focused than her debut. It's almost like this girl is being groomed for prime time after moving on from of Montreal to Bruno Mars and becoming a Covergirl. I mean, she's got Erykah Badu, Solange, Big Boi, Cee-Lo and freakin Prince (among others) guesting on this thing.

Nine Inch Nails' new album, Hesitation Marks, is now available after some of the songs being previewed. I was kind of worried because one of the songs I heard ("Everything") sounded more like it belonged in an iPod commercial than on a NIN album. After finally hearing the whole album, I kind of wonder why they would choose to represent it with that track, since for the most part, it's roots-based industrial for the 20 year old group. Once again we're angry and we don't know why, but now we're sitting at desk job instead of behind a locked bedroom door.